Climate Change at Apex of US Research Plan to Fight World Hunger

  • USAID, USDA to preview plan to research malnutrition
  • Climate focus is needed to fix food system. officials say

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The federal government will highlight climate-focused agriculture, affordable healthy food, and genetically improved crops and livestock in its plan to research global hunger more closely, US leaders said.

Samantha Power, the administrator of the US Agency for International Development, is set to discuss the food research strategy Wednesday at a conference focused on global agriculture. USAID plans to work with the Agriculture Department on “addressing the root causes of hunger and malnutrition,” according to a press release shared with Bloomberg. The climate announcement doesn’t come with added funding, though, leaving its concrete results to be determined.

“Climate change shows no signs of slowing. Neither does hunger,” Power said in a statement. “This Strategy confronts these dual, interlinked threats with one of our most powerful weapons: research and innovation.”

Photographer: Leigh Vogel/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Samantha Power, administrator of USAID, speaks during a conference in Washington, D.C. in June 2022.

The plan hinges on sustainable agricultural growth, such as improving soil health to conserve resources and sequester carbon better, in order to make the food system more resilient and environmentally friendly, the agencies said. Agriculture contributed more than 10% of US greenhouse gas emissions. Environmental groups point to climate-linked extreme weather such as drought and hurricanes as evidence it’s impossible to feed the world without focusing on sustainability.

Research into more efficient uses of water and soil will help repair the global food chain and make more food available, the agencies said. Climate-related programs that are underway include water management and crop rotation to conserve soil.

Wednesday’s announcement comes as the federal government has pledged to address malnutrition, both at home and abroad. The White House last month held the first summit on hunger in more than 50 years, producing a swath of recommendations to pinpoint the link between a lack of affordable, fresh food and poor nutritional outcomes.

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The USDA has also focused on genetically modified crops and livestock that can better resist infections, pests, and hot temperatures in response to the worst drought in the American West in 1,200 years.

The agencies are working “to help better prepare U.S. farmers and ranchers to meet emerging challenges, such as new pests or diseases, or unprecedented heat waves and droughts,” USDA and USAID said.

Mike Dorning in Washington also contributed to this story.

To contact the reporter on this story: Maeve Sheehey in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anna Yukhananov at

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